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adventure travel africa

Pilanesberg National Park

So what can you expect in Pilanesberg National Park?
Expect to see nothing, expect the worst safari ever! Don't expect the sightings below, just hope for them :)
Have a look at my friend Bill just avoiding an elephant charge by Steriod on 27 Dec 2008 on YouTube ....

And then me and my friend Robin on 23 June 09, also on Youtube
Note I'm not updating this anymore - March 2018

Please don't expect to see absolutely amazing things like on Animal Planet or National Geographic; they sometimes take 2 years to put together a 51 minute documentary! I've done about 9 600 hours in Pilanesberg with clients in 14 years (March 2016), realistically with me you will see: (not updated anymore, up to 2011)

100% chance of: White Rhino, Giraffe, Zebra, Blue Wildebeest, Impala, Hippo,
99% chance of: Slender Mongoose & Warthog, Kudu
98% chance of: Elephant,  I've only missed 8 times ever!
90% chance of: Red Hartebeest, Tsesebe,  Baboon, Waterbuck, Vervet Monkey and Springbuck.
Then Lion, a rough 77% average over the last 11 years, with 80%+ during very difficult veld conditions in 2011. Note that it is VITAL to try get a sighting before 8 am , as after that your % chance drop by about 86% - my stats till Sept 2011. This is also not the whole story ..... it's no use seeing lions 100m away in the shade sleeping & obscured under some tree and by some grass . You will have better sightings at the zoo.... about 50 multiple sightings only.
Bird wise we rarely fail to miss Hornbills, Guinea Fowl, Natal Spurfowls, Grey Turaco, Cattle Egrets, Cormorants, Ring Neck Turtle Dove, Masked Weaver, Plovers, Black Shouldered Kite, Cape Sparrow, Glossy Starling, Forked Tailed Drongo, Bulbul, Sacred Ibis, Gray Heron, Fiscal Shrike, Pied Crow, White Faced Duck, Egyptian Geese.


Leopard on the way out, next to Sable Dam
14 September 2007 - 18h14 - Don't ever expect this......!! Just off corner Sefara & Tlou.

Then there is an even chance to see:  Black backed Jackal, Klipspringer, Crocodile, Squirrel, Ostrich, Fish Eagle, Lilac Breasted Roller, Swainson's Francolin, some Kingfishers, Wagtails, Spoonbill, Crested Barbet. Lesser Striped Swallow, European Bee Eater & Monotonous Lark, Marabou Stork,  in season. Hyrax in Winter, occasionally in summer.

Not so easy are:
30% chance of: Brown Hyena, Steppe Buzzard, African Spoonbill, Steenbok,
20% chance of:  Black Rhino,
10% chance of:  Secretary Bird,  Rock Monitor, Eland
7% chance of  Sable, less than 10 left in the Park, Buffalo, Leopard, Cheetah.
5% chance of: Blue headed Agama, Chameleon, Cori Bustard,
2% chance of:  Spotted Eagle Owl, Wild Dog, pufadder, Bushbuck, Reedbuck, Oryx, Banded Mongoose, Mountain Reedbuck, Caracal,
1% chance of:  Black Mamba, Banded Mongoose, Duiker, Snake buzzard
0,1% chance of Richard Branson (30 Dec 2004) and Grey Rhebok - not listed and 5 recorded sightings in the last 5 years, also the Great Cane Rat once. Then 31 Aug 2006 for the 1st time Dwarf Mongoose. And 3 May 2007 2 honeybadgers, my 1st sighting in Pilanesberg. And 19 Sept 2007 my 1st Serval!! 2nd with both last 2 in 2008
 Then some Kingfishers, Red Chested Cuckoo (we always hear it), Black Eagle, Martial Eagle, Hamerkop, Hoopoe, European Bee Eaters & Swallows always in season. Saw a pair of African Hawk Eagles on 30 Oct 06, again Sept 07 & twice late 2008

And though they are there i've never seen:  Ant-eater

Black rhino 3 m from us

25 July 2008 - This was one of my best 5 black rhino sightings ever - had to wait 25 minutes.

What I have seen! I add every now and then.... Note I'm not updating this anymore - March 2018
Rare sightings out of about 800 full days total - May 2013:

Brown hyena 140 sighting days - with one day 8 on a day, 2 twice
Black Rhino 128 sighting days - 6 out of 7 trips July/Aug 2008 though, then nothing, then 2 out of 3 in Dec 08! 3 multiples.
Eland 67 sighting days
, with the 1st multiple Jan 09, 2nd Sep 09
Buffalo 46 sighting days, with 2 multiples sightings both Sept 2009
Sable 35 times - there are only 8 left
Cheetah 32 times - there are only 3 left
Leopard 82 Times - 3 times in 9,5 days over 3 weeks, Oct/Nov 2006, best Oct 2006, 60 cm for 1 min, posed! Leopards mating 60 metres from us 13 Feb 2007 - Only 2 sightings in 2008 though! Fantastic 40 min sighting Sept 2009. 19 sightings in 2011, and 16 in 2012r
Bushbuck 25 times
Owls 17 times (not counting night drives)
Caracal 15 times - 12 minute sighting Nov 2006 - 15 metres, 2 multiple sightings 14 July 2007 & 23 Aug 2009
Wild Dog 11 times - 9 min sighting Nov 2006 - 1 meter
Oryx 7 times - there are less than 20 left
Mountain Reedbuck - 12 times
Southern Reedbuck - 9 times
Pufadder - 7times
Duiker - only 14 times, scarce in PB
Honey badger(s) - 3 times - 1st only in May 2007
Black Mamba - 3 times
Serval - 4 times - 1st only in Sept 2007
, best 25 Dec 2008
African Rock Python - 1 time May 2006
Dwarf Mongoose - 1 time - 30 July 2006
Grey Rhebok 1 time ..(.i think....!). Mike says there are none, but Mandy said she saw them in 2001 as well....
Snouted Cobra 1 time - 25 Dec 08 - took 315 days :)
Rock Agama 1 time - Aug 2009
Cape clawless otter - 1 time - Dec 2010
Aardwolf 1 time - Jan 2011 - 4 together

White tailed Mongoose - 3 times - 2011/2/3

Kills - about 70 after the kill, seen 1 giraffe kill @ 400m
Actual Kills - 1 on 1 Aug 2006 with no clients! Lion taking out a buffalo calf 30 m from me 1 Aug 2006. It took about 210 trips/days for this sighting - a once in a lifetime experience for anyone. Then Serval pouncing on a mouse 25 Dec 2008 - it was awesome!
Stalks - at least 50, even seen cheetah stalk 3 giraffe....
Chases - 12, 1x cheetah killing a waterbuck, but missed the actual kill, 1 leopard that missed vervet monkeys, and lionesses seriously trying buffalo 31 July 2006. Lioness getting kicked in the ribs by a zebra. Also half hearted warthog chase April 2007. Most chases and all kills happens lightning fast

1st lion sighting

6 August 2008 - 1st lion sighting, 2nd was 8 minutes later. Tracked these guys, and lost the tracks 200m
before sighting them. Had to turn left or right, and made the right choice. Tshwene, between Mankwe & Motlobo.

And if you are really lucky you will see something like Wild Dogs chasing Waterbuck into the water, and a territorial hippo then killing 1 waterbuck..... a once in a lifetime sighting .......!

The buffalo/lion kill tops the waterbuck/hippo kill for me though; but maybe as I was there experiencing it. My best day ever in the Park was the day before though, 31 July 2006. It wasn't 'cause we saw the big 5 (we did; rare in Pilanesberg). It was the quality of sightings. We had the best rhino & klipspringer sightings. As my clients said at 11h00 already; "We are blown away" This was before the most serious ele charge I've ever had. A female by the name of Monica charged us for 100+m at full speed without letting up. For those of you that know Dithabaneng road, you will know it is extremely difficulty to reverse at 40km/h on a curvy road and through some culverts as well. Monica lost her baby in the 2005 fire and she was a bit grumpy that day, there was a fire at Sun City 20 km's away - they were on Dithabaneng and very nervous. She really is a lovely lady. Pity my one client was under her seat.... And to then to get charged later the same day by Nakamele that was in musth (just a light charge & only my 7th at that stage in PB);  then to see the lionesses trying the buffalo unsuccessfully, and the buffalo fighting back was just amazing.

Pilanesberg Dawn to Dusk Safaris from Johannesburg, Pretoria, Pilanesberg and Sun City

Working with new pics are just too time consuming, so I only do it when I have free time! May 2019
Picture Gallery up to 2019
Picture Gallery 2010
Picture Gallery 2009
Picture Gallery 2008
Picture Gallery 2007
Picture Gallery 2006
Picture Gallery 2005
Picture Gallery 2004

It's alphabetical - so save us both time.... and if not on here I will put it up!

Accommodation in the Park only: Staying Friday or Saturday you have to pay for 2 nights min.

Accommodation in and around Sun City. Staying Friday or Saturday you have to pay for 2 nights min.

Accommodation Specials at Pilanesberg

Accommodation at Sun City Vacation Club

Airport at Pilanesberg

Animal studies in Pilanesberg

Bakgatla Resort

Bakubung Bush Lodge

Balloon Safaris: In Pilanesberg National Park -  R5 000pp - 1 hour, minimum 4 pax!

Binoculars needed

Bird list

Black Rhino Game Lodge

Buffalo in the Park

Camping - book direct at 014 555 1000, don't be surprised if you hold 15 minutes and then get cut off.

Cancellation Terms and Conditions

Commission offered to booking agents

Condition of the Veld

Dangers in Pilanesberg

Disclosures: About vehicles used for Pilanesberg and other

Directions - see map

Elephant Back safaris in Pilanesberg.

Entrance fee - see gate times

Etiquette in Game Parks like Pilanesberg for self drives

Friends of Pilanesberg Society - Volunteers helping to maintain the Park.

Gate Times for Pilanesberg National Park

Geology of Pilanesberg National Park

Highlights seen in Pilanesberg the last 2 years:
Don't expect something like this or the animals to stand next to the road waiting.  It's not a Zoo!

History of Pilanesberg National Park

Idiot Gallery - Stunts pulled in Pilanesberg National Park by the mentally challenged.  Other tour operators are welcome to contribute - I will give you recognition except if you don't want it!

Ivory Tree Game Lodge

Kids on Safari. In Pilanesberg or other parks

Kwa Maritane Bush Lodge

Manyane Resort

Map and directions to Pilanesberg

Other Parks near Pilanesberg

Other Tour Operators doing Pilanesberg

Packages to Lodges

Picture Gallery -  taken by us over the last 8 years in Pilanesberg.

Pilanesberg National Park vs Kruger National Park.

Reading - other re Pilanesberg.

Safety in Pilanesberg

Shepherd's Tree Game Lodge

Testimonials from clients we have taken to Pilanesberg

Things to do in and around Pilanesberg

Transfers only to Pilanesberg and Sun City - one way: charged per vehicle:

Tshukudu Bush Lodge

Veld Condition in the Park

Weather and Climate for Pilanesberg area

What can you hope to see in Pilanesberg?

When to go to Pilanesberg: best time etc

adventure travel africa
806 Unit 2, Mogwase, Pilanesberg, Office - Please mail only
PO Box 250 Sun City, 0316
-Not Updated March 2018
All Pilanesberg queries -